Developer Who Destroyed Pyramid in Peru Goes Free


Back in July we reported on a developer in Peru who bulldozed a 4,000 year old pyramid. Situated on the site of El Paraíso, a 4,000 year-old settlement pre-Inca near Lima, it’s one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. It’s also prime real estate.

That’s why developers decided to bulldoze one of the pyramids to make way for some new housing. The prehistoric monument was completely leveled, and they would have taken down three more pyramids if an archaeologist and some watchmen didn’t intervene.

Two private companies, Compañía y Promotora Provelanz E.I.R.L and Alisol S.A.C Ambas, claim to own the land, but the Ministry of Culture says it’s owned by the government. Both sides have put up signs at the site claiming ownership. After the bulldozing incident, the government doubled security.

Now Past Horizons reports that two months later, no charges have been brought against the companies or any individuals identified as being part of the work crew. It appears that the two companies have won this round.

This video shows what the pyramid used to look like, and the barren destruction that’s been left in the name of development.

Archaeologists Discover Astronomical Observatory At Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu
Allard Schmidt

Archaeologists excavating at the famous Inca site of Machu Picchu in Peru have discovered the remains of an astronomical observatory.

The Peruvian-Polish team cleared away an unexcavated building of the well-preserved Inca retreat, now the most popular destination in the country, and found that the stones of the structure have astronomical alignments.

The team used 3D laser scanning to map the building, dubbed “El Mirador”, so as to get precise locations and alignments. They found that the edges of many stones lined up with important celestial events on the horizon of the surrounding Yanantin mountain peaks.

The Inca were well-known as astronomers who took careful note of the movements of the heavens in order to plan their agricultural and religious calendars. This was common in many ancient civilizations and the field of archaeoastronomy, which studies who ancient societies examined with the sky, is a growing field of research.

The Polish researchers have been working at Machu Picchu since 2008 and have been focusing on the site’s archaeoastronomical significance. They presented their findings earlier this month at the International Conference of the Societe Europeenne pour l’ Astronomie dans la Culture in Athens.

Maggots Make Home In Woman’s Ear After Peru Trip

John Kucharski, Wikimedia Commons

At one point on her trip-of-a-lifetime to Peru, Rochelle Harris swatted a fly out of her ear and thought little of it. On the flight home, however, she began to hear “scratching sounds” and feel excruciating pain on the side of her face. Then, the next day, fluid leaked out of her ear onto her pillow. After tests at the doctor, it was revealed that maggots had chewed nearly a half-inch hole in her ear canal (ew!). Turns out that pesky fly that laid eggs in her ear was a New World screwworm fly, a species whose larvae feeds on the tissue of its host.

Harris’ story will be featured on Discovery Channel’s upcoming series Bugs, Bites and Parasites. To make sure you don’t end up on the show (seriously, you don’t want to earn your five minutes of fame this way), make sure you study which animals and insects to be aware of before setting off on a trip. From yellow fever, dengue fever and malaria (all transmitted by mosquitos) to the pneumonic plague (transferred person-to-person), don’t let an experience like Harris’ ruin your vacation. Be prepared by getting the appropriate shots and by keeping antibiotics in your first aid kit. And please, watch out for those flies.

[via news.com.au]

‘Living Rocks’ Could Be The Strangest Local Delicacy Ever (VIDEO)


From the outside, it resembles a rock or coral. But on the inside, pyura chilensis is a gooey mass of blood red. This immobile, hermaphroditic sea creature survives on microorganisms and produces vanadium, a rare mineral also found in crude oil and tar sands. But despite safety concerns, it’s a delicacy on the coast of Peru and Chile.

Local fisherman search the coast for these sea squirts, as they are known in English, which can be found in large concentrations or alone (the latter is happening more, as Pyura banks are being heavily fished). At fish markets, they are typically cut open with a carpenter’s saw before the insides are scooped out.

Stéphane Batigne, Wikimedia Commons

Daring tourists should look for piure on South American menus. The creatures are served raw, in stews, over rice or fried. Here’s one marine biologist’s reaction to trying the food when she was in Chile:

We took a guest speaker, Kevin Lafferty from UC Santa Barbara, to eat lunch after his presentation.He told us that he wanted to try piure. People from the lab grimaced at the suggestion and recommended he get a half portion. … Then the waitress brought out this bowl of red lumps in a red broth. When I asked what it was, that’s when they told me it was sea squirt. I then told Kevin to go first. … He really disliked it, but actually I didn’t think it was that bad. It was true that it had a weird iodine flavor that I had never experienced before in my life.

That iodine-like flavor has been described as “bitter and “soapy,” with another visitor saying the famed South American cocktail, a Pisco Sour, “helps it go down.” Not sure if that sounds appetizing, but at least now we can argue it is possible to get blood from a stone.

[via Grist]

Pyramid In Peru Destroyed By Developers

Dibojutri, WikiMedia Commons

For more than 4,000 years, a pyramid stood in El Paraiso, “The Paradise,” one of the largest settlements of its time in Peru. Last week, the pyramid stood almost 20 feet in height; today, it no longer exists.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the pyramid, just north of Lima, was completely demolished last weekend. The BBC states that three more pyramids would have been destroyed were it not for onlookers intervening. Criminal complaints have been filed by government officials against two real estate agencies believed to be responsible. Those responsible apparently feel as though they were within their rights as owners of the land.

This marks the second time in just as many months that an important pyramid has been destroyed by construction crews after a Mayan pyramid in Belize was destroyed in May.